For me, what contributes, if not kick-starts, dialogue within a community is a sense of nostalgia and all that we have in common with it. I am a nostalgic person. I watch re-runs of 1990's sitcoms, I search YouTube for Paula Abdul dance videos and episodes of The Real Ghostbusters. And I look forward to anything that reminds me I was once a human being who had relatively little to worry about aside from choreographing "Forever Your Girl" and Saturday morning cartoons. It is a comfort to know that there are some things in this world that don't change. For example, the Democratic Principles that govern Pirate ships, no? And there's also the fact that there will always be naked people in the public pool change room. Well, naked women at least. I can't say I've wandered into the men's change room at the community center, so I wouldn't know whether they show it all or not.
I remember taking swimming lessons when I was a very little girl and noticing how some women showered in the nude and others kept their swimsuits on. I might have been uncomfortable at first, but I've come around to the idea.
Now, as a fellow Gumboot contributor, I'm attracted to lists, tables and models. Therefore, my reasoning for changing in the nude is threefold, albeit brief:
Reason #1 - Changing and showering in the nude contributes to the breakdown of the relationship between beauty and media and brings it back to where it belongs - the eye of the beholder.
Reason #2 - Although semi-exclusive (only women in the women's change room are the ones to see it, the same with men) it's a visual testament to the diversity living around you and within your very own sex.
Reason #3 - And finally, it allows you to be far more comfortable changing in and out of your clothes and wet swimsuits. I mean, come on.... how beautiful and graceful can you look while balancing on one foot trying to get your toe through your underwear and still holding up a towel and peeling off a wet swimsuit? That's ridiculous.
It was shocking at first, stripping down around other women before and after my swim. But it also served me as a reminder that we build up walls and routine around everything we do from eating at our dinner tables to showering in our bathrooms. Sometimes, it's a really good thing to break down those walls and step out of that routine and remind yourself that you are surrounded by flesh and blood.
So folks... think community and get naked!